The Wiscasset Water District celebrated the completion of an 11-year, $8.8 million project to replace about 35,000 feet of century-old waterlines with a valve-turning ceremony Monday, Aug. 13.
U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development and the First National Bank financed the project with a combination of loans and grants.
According to a press release from USDA Rural Development, the Wiscasset Water District infrastructure serves 641 existing users – 509 residential, 101 commercial, and 31 governmental – in Wiscasset and Woolwich, as well as on Davis Island in Edgecomb.
The replacement of the waterlines helps ensure safe water and a better foundation for economic development, and improves fire protection through the increased size of the pipes, said district Superintendent Chris Cossette.
Five contractors worked on the project: Crooker Construction LLC, Harold Warner Construction, Nitram Excavation & General Contractor Inc., Sam Snow Construction Inc., and Whorff & Sons Excavating. The vendors that supplied the pipe were Everett J. Prescott Inc. and Ti-Sales.
Cossette oversaw the project. Paul Cote, of Tata & Howard Inc., was the consulting engineer.
After a 1983 report listed the area’s waterline deficiencies, Cossette said the overall project happened incrementally, with smaller projects in 2007-2008, 2011, 2014, 2015, and 2017-2018.
Cast iron piping was replaced with ductile iron in downtown Wiscasset and under outlier roads, including Birch Point Road, Flood Avenue, and Gardiner Road.
At the valve-turning ceremony, past and present members of the Wiscasset Water District Board of Trustees were present, including board Chair Gregg Wood, who did the ceremonial valve-turning.
Representatives of U.S. Sen. Susan Collins and U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree read letters of congratulations.
Representatives of Crooker Construction LLC and Nitram Excavation & General Contractor Inc. were present, along with Timothy Hobbs, state director for USDA Rural Development in Maine.
Cossette opened the ceremony.
“This wouldn’t have been successful without your cooperation … I appreciate you all very much for coming to help celebrate this moment,” Cossette said.
“I want to thank the trustees for the foresight and backbone to take this project on; this was a big deal for a very small district,” Wood said. “Nine million dollars is an awful lot of money, but we have been able to pull this off and keep rates affordable. I’m proud of that.”